It’s Day Three of Winter Meetings week, and the Cubs are still doing the “laying foundation” thing. It was always possible – and remains possible – that the Cubs wouldn’t do anything this week, even though it would be fun if they did. A lot of teams are in a holding pattern right now, so it isn’t just the Cubs. Speaking of the Winter Meetings, we’ve got a Winter Meetings edition of the BN Podcast coming in just a bit. Until then, Bullets …

  • The manager has been shot. The manager has been shot. When I heard yesterday that Dale Sveum revealed he’d been shot Dick Cheney-style on a hunting trip with Robin Yount, it immediately screamed “Bullet item” to me – not only because of the obvious pun, but also because I didn’t want it to be one of those things that gets pumped up into something it isn’t. You can read the story here, but there isn’t a ton to it – a bird flew up, Yount took the shot, a piece of pellet shrapnel hit Sveum in the ear, which was bloodied, but did not require stitches. Predictably, though, a number of outlets saw the opportunity to throw up the most shocking headline possible – “Cubs Manager Sveum Shot” – was probably the most deplorable. Thankfully, most of the Chicago outlets resisted the temptation to pick low-hanging fruit by way of a misleading headline. In the end, it’s a funny – kind of scary – story, that will be remembered and joked about for some time. But let’s spare the “Dale Sveum shot by Robin Yount” headlines, which are designed to do little more than shock, titillate, and draw a click.
  • Sveum spoke to the media yesterday about substantive things, too, including Brett Jackson. “We brought him up last season hoping he was going to do well but knowing we get to see him first-hand, where a week ago, he went out to Arizona, we were able to fix the things and be hands-on,” Sveum said, per “I think he’ll tell you it was a huge learning experience. Things obviously didn’t go well but he knows now that sometimes you have to hit that wall to know, ‘Wow, I really have to make some huge adjustments to play at this level.'”
  • Jed Hoyer also spoke about Jackson, in the same article: “If someone got hurt and it forces our hand, then certainly [Jackson could open the season with the Cubs], but our desire is to build a team where he goes to Iowa and works some things out. Dale and [hitting coach James Rowson] and everyone are very optimistic with the changes he made and they feel really good about it. We haven’t soured on Brett at all.” Hopefully the talk of Jackson’s overhauled swing isn’t just hopeful bluster, and maybe it shows itself in the first month or two at Iowa.
  • He also confirmed that the Bunting Tournament is coming back next Spring Training. Yessssssssssssssss.
  • Jed Hoyer expressed optimism about Matt Garza’s optimism as he gets going on the throwing part of his rehab from a stress reaction in his elbow. “His mood, his optimism seems really good, and sometimes you have to gauge a lot based on that,” Hoyer said, per Patrick Mooney. “He was pretty down in July and early August. You could tell he knew there was something wrong with him. Now you get the sense that he’s excited to get going and start his real rehab. His mood is hopefully indicative of a totally healthy guy that can be ready to go in spring training.” Excellent. All of that.
  • Although he’s stretching out (successfully, so far) in the Dominican Winter League, the Cubs aren’t planning on using Michael Bowden in the rotation. “We’re looking at him as a reliever,’’ Theo Epstein said of Bowden for 2013, per Phil Rogers. “It is good that he’s getting stretched out this winter. It gives us some options if we have an injury in the rotation.’’ Emergency depth is the way that sounds.
  • A profile on outfield prospect Albert Almora. Just as we thought when the Cubs drafted him, this really does seem like a super high character kid.
  • The MLBullets at BCB do some recapping of the Winter Meetings so far.
  • fortyonenorth

    Better shot than fired, I guess.

  • ETS

    Lol “I mean… Golly” is too perfect of caption.

  • Fastball

    With regards to Stewart and his wrist injury. I highly doubt he comes in and starts showing improvement over previous seasons. A wrist injury post-op is difficult to recover from without having pain – arthritic type symptoms. Swinging a baseball bat is not a natural movement for a wrist especially one that has been operated on. The impact of bat meeting ball on the not so nice contacts can tramatize the wrist i.e. the stingers. I remember how poorly Derek Lee performed after his wrist injury that didn’t require surgery. He never really returned to his former self. Most players don’t. My guess is Theo and Jed have looked at the history of ball players with wrist injuries of many types. I would bet players returning to their former self is very low. This would tell me not to resign him which they didn’t. I would put the onus on Stewart to prove his health and that he is worthy of any type of contract. Face it most people never would make in a year what he would get on a minor league contract. I have always said I don’t care about Ricketts financial standing or if he makes any money owning the Cubs. But I wouldn’t give Stewart and money until he proves he can carry a load on that wrist. I would love for him to be productive but I don’t invest a dime in him until he proves himself. Most other ML teams GM’s are even more skeptical than the Cubs.

    • Jade

      I also seem to recall a Bruce Levine chat about Stewart not having the best work habits. There was also some chatter when he refused to rehab with the team.

      • Cubbie Blues

        His wife was pregnant and he wanted to rehab close to her.

    • Boogens

      Gotta agree with you, Fastball. Derrick was never really the same aftwerwards (just another reason that I hate Furcal) and he’s a high character and work ethic kind of guy. Granted, his and Stewart’s injuries aren’t identical, however the point you made about wrist injuries is still relevant.

      • hansman1982

        Not quite the same? He had an .899 OPS the three years after the injury compared to an .898 the six before it.

  • cubchymyst

    It be nice to hear a little about Vitters and his steps to improve on his defesnse and offense since his call up at the end of last year. Vitters already has over 400 AB is AAA with a good slash line of 0.304/0.353/0.513 and is only 23. If he defense was average for a 3rd basemen his growing pains with his slow adjustment pattern would be more tolerable.

  • cjdubbya

    Why do I get the feeling that 24-27 teams are laying foundation at this point of the Winter Meetings? Is it basically that seemingly everyone’s waiting on Greinke & Hamilton to truly set the market for everything else to go?

  • Fastball

    Yount was like 50 yards away and was shooting bird shot. It’s actually a little smaller than a bee bee. It comes out in a fairly wide flight pattern and doesn’t travel very far at all. It barely broke the skin. Probably stung like hell but definitely not a life threatening situation. I watched the interview. It was a funny story and it’s like a Duck Dynasty story.
    If you go Bird Hunting you walk around in a field spread out with a bunch of your friends. Somebody kicks up a bird and everybody or who ever is closest starts blasting away. We duck hunt on our lake and on Saturday mornings it sounds like Baghdad with all the shotguns going off at once when a duck flies by. Good Times…

    • Cubbie Blues

      Yeah, he was actually pelted in the back with the shot. One just happened to get his ear. He continued hunting and got 10 birds after that. The whole interview was hilarious. Millar was joking about his name calling him Svem and as Sveum was telling the story he called himself Svem.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    Would love to see us just get Keppinger and Ludwick and be done with it.

  • Jeremy

    That Almora article was a very good read. I find it really hard to not like or to not get excited about this kid. I think he might be something special.

    Love to read that Rizzo was down there hanging out with him.

  • Jarrod Campbell

    No offense Brett, but you kind of just did what you were bashing. Your tweet: “Shocking headline about Dale Sveum being shot…” You also did nothing to disclaim that it was a minor injury before your “headline.” It doesn’t really bother me, but you kinda gotta practice what you preach. Still a fan! :)

    • Brett

      No way, man: by using the word “headline” in the headline, it’s pretty clear I’m not doing it. Not even close. It’s sarcastic.

  • Grant

    I think the bunt tournament was a good idea, but that it just didn’t translate well into regular-season results. Hopefully that changes this year. Also, it would be nice if someone kept a bracket of the tournament. I searched and searched and could never find one last year.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      but that it just didn’t translate well into regular-season results.

      The problem is that bunting hasn’t meant much during regular seasons since that George Herman bloke moved to the outfield.

      • Cubbie Blues

        I wonder if he is still available. He might be a good pickup. I heard he is a bit of a loose canon though.

  • OkieCub

    So which BN’er is going to be our Kane County correspondent this year?

  • Luke

    Someone needs to buy the TV rights for the bunt tournament. I would pay to watch that.

    I’m serious. And that’s sad. But still awesome.

    • Brett

      Yup. Ditto.

      • CubFan Paul

        we need a f’n lead off man or its all for notthing kinda.

  • Webb

    Here’s how the Cubs should handle the winter meetings: sign Josh Hamilton to whatever deal a prospect-heavy organization (Texas) can’t afford (4 years $100 mil), then turn right around in 6-18 months and swap him to afore mentioned team while eating all the salary that that team couldn’t pay. Think of it as spending $50 million on Mike Olt and some quality farm arms.

    Asside: when I say “should” I don’t mean it in the sense that I know more about baseball than the Theojed. Read it as “hey, this would be neat!”

    • Brett

      I think the Cubs are trying to “buy” prospects that way, albeit to a much lesser scale. There’s a whole lot of risk in assuming that you can trade a Hamilton after a year for a haul. What if he breaks down? Then you’re f’d to the tune of $100 million.

      I’d rather the Cubs try – as they have – to use multiple players in order to spread out the risk. The total return in prospects could be similar, too.

      • Webb

        That’s very true. I’ve always been a fan of his story though so having him as a Cub again (for more than five minutes this time) would be cool for me as a fan – so there’s that side of it. The probability of acquiring A grade prospects for him is also higher than the current caliber of FA the Cubs have begun to sign as well. The Cubs payroll over that span could also be flexible enough to accomidate this type of gamble.

  • Fastball

    Keppinger and Ludwick would be nice. My expectations are not what they once where. So I am willing to settle for those two. Problem is… we probably won’t get either of them.

  • Fastball

    I don’t think Ricketts would let Theo spend the money it would take to land a Hamilton type player at any point in time. My gut just tells me that the Cubs are never going to sign a high end free agent. I could be wrong but the indication is the Cubs won’t ever be in that market space.

  • Fastball

    I think Ricketts will use the excuse that he doesn’t have a TV deal like the other large market teams and therefore he can’t afford to spend the money until such time. Meanwhile we are moving into the next decade before that comes to fruition. They way the TV deal in Chicago is broken up between WGN and CSN with contract term expiration dates no way does Ricketts see a deal like the Dodgers and Angels have. Thus the Cubs baseball budget will be in the low $100M range.

  • Fastball

    Kyle you should challenge ETS to a dual. Name your pistols ETS meet in the middle of Rush Street in one hour.

  • Fastball

    Brett… are duals legal? I mean they should be. If two guys want to have a dual it’s a mutual thing and if one gets hurt the other should not be liable. Just wondering about the law on that one. :) Maybe we can solve a lot of the conflicts on here that way. Of course your base of readers would decline rather quickly on a daily basis. With 12/21/2012 coming and all I need to Prep for this kind of thing. Yes I am being a wise ass.

  • Holden

    I really enjoy reading everyone’s comments. Its refreshing to get so many points of views. That being said, I like Ian Stewart. Great defense on a team that seems to be collecting ground ball pitchers. If he comes back and battles at the plate, on this team, I don’t really care. If he can maintain an OBP of near .300, thats fine with me. I just want his defense out there and the potential he has over the others to pop one out is good enough during this rebuilding stage, plus he’s cheap. Also, he replied to a tweet when I asked him how is wrist was feeling and he said great. ( <–I had a girly teen heartthrob Beatles mania moment, the wife did not understand till)

    With regards to free agents, I still like one more arm for the rotation, McCarthy or Marcum. I like one more arm for the pen, Grilli. Yet, I wouldn't move heaven or earth to get any.

    We have two choices with the rule 5 coming up, a nice bullpen arm or take a flier on one of the outfielders. I know with an organization that is chock full of outfield prospects people will be wondering why I am suggesting the outfielders. If we can get a good OBP guy that is a 4th outfield type, we start him for the year in center or right and wait for Jackson. If not then I would take Josh Fields, or any one of the BIG Lefty power arms. <–Spells Grilli, but cheap

  • Mike

    The Facebook link lede says

    Dale Sveum is the new Dick Cheney

    . Technically Robin Yount is the new Dick Cheney.

    • Brett

      Yeah, I was trying to plant the reference, but it wasn’t very precise.